Noted film maker, artist and social worker, Shri Muzaffar Ali and renowned sitarist, Debu Chaudhuri released Birju Maharaj: The Master Through My Eyes at a function organised at the India International Center. Birju Maharaj, who was present on the occasion, later spoke about his life and passion to regale the audience.
Also present at the function were Jawar Sircar, CEO Prasar Bharati, and leading personalities in the field of art and theatre.
The publication aims to highlight the work and life of noted artists and is authored by his disciple, Saswati Sen.
Birju Maharaj is not only an unmatched Kathak dancer but also a superb vocalist, a generous teacher, and an imaginative painter. The book reveals how this icon of Indian dance, who is a mentor for thousands and an inspiration for countless people across the globe, is actually an unassuming, simple person outside his artistic world.
Accompanied by rare photographs, this is a heartfelt tribute to a man who, among his many achievements, has spread awareness about the classical dance form of Kathak, not only in India, but abroad while touching innumerable lives along the way.
This memoir of the legendary Kathak maestro Pandit Birju Maharaj presents layers of his personality—his simplicity, modesty, generosity—as witnessed by one of his foremost disciples, Saswati Sen, who has known him for over forty-five years.
Saswati Sen, regarded as one of the best exponents of the famous Lucknow gharana of Kathak, is the driving force behind Kalashram, Pandit Birju Maharaj’s dream institution. She has received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, the Sanskriti Award, the Shringar Mani Award and the Critic’s Recommendation Award. She has performed at the RIMPA (Ravi Shankar Institute for Music and Performing Arts) festival in Varanasi, the Kathak Prasang in Bhopal and Jaipur and the prestigious Khajuraho Festival of dance, among others.
After her initial training under Reba Chatterjee Vidyarthi at the Bharatiya Kala Kendra in New Delhi, she was awarded the National Scholarship in 1969 by the Ministry of Culture. She then graduated to become one of the foremost disciples of Pandit Birju Maharaj.